Temporary Disruption


By Robert Clinton, Opinion Editor

In a nation driven by a 24-hour news cycle that blurs the lines between fake news, breaking news and the hyperbole spewed from the mouths of talking heads and paid corporate shills, less sensational stories get pushed to the background.

As the American media become more enthralled with President Trump’s mishaps, misfortunes and accusations of misogyny, a world of reports more important than the sexual escapades of Stormy Daniels languishes in obscurity.

Stories that would be front page news are routinely relegated to lost corners of the internet while pundits argue over issues that seem perfectly designed to distract the populous from more pressing issues.

“Day Zero” looms for Cape Town

With a population of roughly 433,000 people and ranking 299th on the list of the world’s largest cities, Cape Town, South Africa is slated to run out of water on July 7 of this year.

Currently, fierce water restrictions are in place to stave off what is known as Day Zero, including, but not limited to, restricting residents to using 50 liters of water per day.

An average toilet uses about 13 liters per flush and the daily use for one person is 71 liters.

However, sharing toilet remnants is the least of the South Africa’s concerns.

According to capetown.gov, agricultural users, in areas already stricken with drought, need to reduce water usage by 60 percent.

With less water and fewer resources to grow crops, the plight of these South Africans is ironically being drowned out by endless political news cycles.

While Americans gather on golf courses, people on the other side of the globe wonder if life without water will silently become the new normal.

The scourge of cyber-crime

In September 2017, Americans were alerted to a data security breach against the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax. The breach exposed the full names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and driver license numbers of its 145.5 million U.S. consumers. Equifax also confirmed at least 209,000 of its customers’ credit information was also taken in the security breach, which the company says occurred between May and June of the same year.

That was a hack.

More disturbingly, just three months earlier, a database containing the voter information of nearly 198 million U.S. voters was exposed and exploited. The information was released not through some complicated hack or elaborate ruse. The data was mistakenly left exposed by a conservative data firm, Deep Root Analytics, that owns the information and the server it’s stored on. Because of a software misconfiguration, all the data was left exposed.

The Equifax hack and voter info exposure have fundamentally changed the meaning of “a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

A mysterious white powder

On Feb. 12, presidential daughter-in-law and wife of Donald Trump Jr. Vanessa Trump was rushed to the hospital after opening a package filled with white powder. On the same day, across the Atlantic Ocean, Prince Harry and his fiancé Meghan Markle were also delivered a package containing white powder that was intercepted by crown security. Reports by London’s Evening Standard newspaper claim the powder to be weaponized Anthrax.

Vanessa Trump has not made a public appearance since the incident was reported.

Truthers, hold on to your tinfoil hats.

In 2001, one week after 9/11, letters containing a mysterious white powder, later determined to be Anthrax, were delivered to several media outlets and two senator’s offices killing five people and infecting 17 others.

After a lengthy investigation, FBI agents set their sights on scientist Bruce Edwards Ivins and eventually charged him with the crimes in August 2008.

The conviction came one month after Ivins’ suicide.

Although an independent review board was formed to challenge the conviction, neither the board or the federal government can prove with 100 percent certainty that Ivins was the sole culprit behind the attacks.

To date, no reports have been issued about the status of Vanessa Trump’s health.